In order to evaluate the localized proliferative activity of intratumor cells in Bowen's disease using tissue sections, skin specimens from ten patients were compared with skin samples from seven normal individuals for their expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), Ki-67 immunostaining and intranuclear DNA contents, quantitated with a laser cytometer (LCM). In normal epidermis, the largest proportion of PCNA- and Ki-67-positive cells was observed in the basal cell layer, with the amounts decreasing through the suprabasal cell layer towards the prickle cell layer. Examination by LCM also revealed the highest average fluorescence intensity of individual nuclei in the basal cell layer and, as with the immunohistological parameters, reducing towards the upper layer of the epidermis. In the Bowen's disease tissue sections, the largest proportion of PCNA- and Ki-67-positive cells was found in contact with the basement membrane (base of the tumor), with lower amounts in the center of the tumor nest and in the marginal epidermis. The average fluorescence intensities of individual nuclei were in line with these results. These results show that tumor cells distributed in Bowen's disease tumor nests have different proliferative activities depending on their location.
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